Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Public Option" by Any Other Name...

I think this has to be a first for the US... this taking all the campaign promises a candidate made, removing the flowery phrases from them, and then ramming them through as legislation basically all at one time in rapid fire, no-discussion, "right now" time frame. These are very radical pieces of legislation which remove from us some of the most basic freedoms and at the same time heaps upon us the largest and irrecoverable indebtedness in our nation's history. It's no wonder that conservatives are up in arms... and very rightfully so.

Conservatives did get to celebrate a very, very short-lived "mini-victory" on the healthcare issue when they heard Kathleen Sebelius recently say that the public option in the national healthcare plan was not a "make or break" part of the plan, and when Obama himself said on Saturday that it was only "one sliver" of the overall plan, a direct about-face from their earlier statements. But we have to hold our horses. It's really not time to celebrate. Ms. Sebelius' recantation of her Sunday statements on Tuesday morning should stoke the embers of conservatives' outrage into full flames again. (Guess she got called on the carpet!) Listen up! Pay attention to these senators and representatives. Watch what they're saying and how they say it. If they get into their "congress-speak", then you know they're not listening to any opposing viewpoints. They're entrenched in their party loyalty and commitment to an ultra-liberal platform.

Do not be fooled. The healthcare public option is still very much alive and it is the intent of these liberal legislators to include this proviso whenever they vote on the final bill (presently scheduled for this fall). Whether or not they will have the gall to push it through "in the dark of night" as with other major legislation passed this year remains to be seen. Their intent is for government to be in control of every sector of American life. So, if they do vote in this healthcare control in the dark of night, or cloak it with the veil of "cooperatives", I sincerely hope and pray that every single one of them will pay with their seats when the time comes for re-election, regardless of their "esteem" or tenure, or political party.

In regard to the townhalls, what I'm also noticing is that these townhalls haven't changed the minds of any of these legislators yet. I'm not saying that some minds haven't been changed - those would be the minds of some in the general public. I believe the first few townhalls caused some who have been less involved in the democratic process to take a look at what this legislation really means and to become involved themselves and be heard. That is evidenced, I believe, by the mixture of the newer crowds which include old, young, middle-aged, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

The White House sure took notice. They know the truth, that this is the type of public outcry that can catch fire. That's why they've called out their "pitbulls" ACORN and SEIU to attend meetings in townhalls that are not in their own districts and to drown out, if not stamp out the effort. And it's been documented now that this is the "organized/busload" faction at these townhalls.

Senator Claire McCaskill of MO was the first Democrat to recognize these those attending the early townhalls as real people, not just an organized mob or some conspiracy. I watched part of her townhall meeting the other day. She said she couldn't understand why people were trying to all speak at the same time (and loudly) and called them rude. What she failed to understand is that these people have finally been given a voice. They've been silenced a long time and they feel desperate at this point. These townhalls offer them a limited time and place to speak up and ask their questions or present their concerns. Her real problem is that while she recognizes them as real people, she isn't listening to them with an open mind - because hers is closed to their complaints. To her they are of no value.

Multiply that by scores and scores of others behind this healthcare plan. Like her, other legislators are deceiving themselves that these townhall protestors are not really representative of America. They're dismissing these constituents who are speaking against what this administration is doing as as a few malcontents venting frustration, and some legislators are avoiding their constituents altogether. If they're not going to represent their constituency instead of their own interests, they truly need to go!

In regards to the healthcare proponent's newest mantra, "cooperatives", let me state my skepticism here about cooperatives. Be aware -- be very aware of wolves in sheep's clothing - or in this case, be wary of "Public Option" by another name. I do not believe that a government-backed cooperative plan for healthcare, which is similar to Medicare, is any better than a completely government-run public option. (We know what condition that Medicare and Medicaid are in, right?)

Here's why it's not better. Not long ago, by infusing funds, some bank and corporate butts were pulled from the proverbial fire. The result was that in those cases there was a government takeover of the financial and corporate entities which included a bypassing of the governing bodies of those entities - their own boards of directors - and included the daily oversight by the government in all aspects of their business including dictating what products would be produced and what salaries could be paid by these companies and who could head the organization. I don't believe Americans want the government telling any of us what care we can or cannot have access to, which is what the government will do if they're involved in a national healthcare cooperative.

Anyone who has any concern about government meddling in our private business had better sit up and take notice and not accept at face value these statements that the government will not be directing how these cooperatives are run and what policies and coverages will be made available. Government, especially this administration, cannot be allowed any further intrusion into our private business.

I am so thankful that we have been given the time for people to read this proposed plan as it is laid out in HR 3200. It is extraordinarily amazing to me how many Congressional members voted on the last few pieces of legislation like TARP 1 and 2, the Stimulus Package, and now HR 3200 without reading it or understanding the breadth and scope of its reach into private life of Americans. But now the general public is reading the bill, listening to the lies and distortions of what will and what won't be in the final bill, and has begun to express legitimate concerns about this particular legislation. But even more importantly, they're also making sure they're being heard on the other issues of concern like the monstrous debt that this administration has perpetrated on this and the next two generations through previously rushed and passed legislation.

What is so mind-boggling is that all the campaign promises to "fundamentally change this country", sans the flowery, feel-good phrases, is being accomplished in such short order. The tactical strategies of this administration have been to overwhelm and ultimately destroy the checks and balances within the system with an all-out push to get everything through while the country is enamored of the new administration during the honeymoon period. Thus far, they've succeeded. However, those of us who are concerned have been allowed a window of opportunity to be heard and to stop this run-away train. Hopefully, the country has regained its 20-20 sight instead of its post-election starry-eyed, enamored gaze, and now can see what is coming at them and will take action immediately to recapture and re-establish the greatness of America that has been the envy of the world. This may be the only opportunity we have to save our country from destruction - now that the honeymoon is over!

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